For those who don't do it, the work from home concept perhaps seems like a dream opportunity. Those who do, however, may not share the same views. Some do, but many don't. And the reason they don't is because they've haven't hacked it. To be effective working from the home office you need to know how to succeed, and that's what this article is all about. This is Office Evolution’s five best work from home hacks. It doesn't matter if you're an employee or an independent worker, if you need to be more productive then keep reading.
More Professionalism = Productivity = Profits
It goes without saying that the more professional you are in your approach to work, the more productive you will be. And the more productive you are, the greater the profits. It sounds simple enough and in some ways it is. Get it wrong, though, and your home environment could break your chances of being a productive remote worker.
So many people struggle working from home, not least because they are often overworked or are unable to switch off. There's also the lack of real person-to-person support from colleagues that unsettles some. Home technology, or lack of, can also create stumbling blocks in certain cases.
Five proven approaches that help to reset the balance and increase productivity at home include:
- Setting the mood
- Seize the moment
- Maintain focus
- Take a break – get out of the home
- Understanding ergonomics
All the above are simple yet incredibly effective ways to get you into the "work from home zone." Let's look at each of these in turn, starting with the importance of mood.
#1 Setting the Right Mood
The sooner you get into a productive mood the better. Setting the right atmosphere is crucial to your productivity. To put it another way, you need to enjoy the space you work in. The kitchen table probably isn't going to cut it for most people, not in the long term anyways. Ideally, those who work from home designate a space or room separate from the rest of the house. The idea is to then create an ambiance that pleases you and helps you focus. A happy worker is a good worker. How you set the mood depends on your likes and dislikes, but a clean, organized space is a good start. Here are a few other ideas to get you thinking:
Don't underestimate the calming effect of plants. There has been study after study that proves how having a few plants around can help. They improve a worker's concentration, happiness and productivity by as much as 15 percent. You don't need to overdo it, but a few carefully selected house plants are definitely going to work in your favor.
You may think you're oblivious to the clutter around you but none of us are, at least not at the subconscious level. You should put anything that doesn't contribute toward your work in its place. Piles of papers, magazines, clothes and whatever else there is that shouldn't be there will add to the disorganization. Whenever there's a lack of organization there's a real loss of effectiveness and efficiency. Virtual clutter is included in this too. An inbox stuffed with unread and unanswered emails will play on both the conscious and subconscious mind. Having multiple programs open that you don't need open is another distraction. Having to toggle a dozen or more open windows to get back to the one you're working with is frustrating to say the least.
These are all little things that can make a huge difference to the way you work. There are two rules of thumb here that will serve you well:
- Put away anything you don't need or have use for at the time
- Throw away or give away anything you don't use period
The Power of Music
Music helps people to become more productive while working at home. What music works for you will depend on your taste and also the type of work you do, though it's not quite as simple as that. Some people find music distracting, but that's usually if they have it in their face, coming right out of the computer speakers. It's usually better to have the music some distance away, so that it becomes more background. In general, instrumental music (void of vocals) like soft classical or soothing jazz works very well. Even if this is not your usual genre, it may surprise you how well it helps to relax the atmosphere and contribute to your productivity.
Remember, you're not listening to the music per se, as much as introducing it into your space as something that contributes to the overall mood. If you haven't tried it, you have nothing to lose by giving it a go. Music is particularly good for making any repetitive jobs a lot more pleasurable.
The Psychological Effect of Color
It's no coincidence that we become green with envy, red with rage or feel a little blue sometimes. There is an inextricable link between colors, moods and atmospheres. The colors of a workspace are so important that some would argue they are as significant as the people working there. Kalyan N. Meola (a researcher with The University of Hawaii) suggests that all visual elements—colors in particular—have a profound effect on a person's behavior as they work. This includes productivity levels, attitudes and moods. There are many other studies which draw the same conclusion. It will pay you to think carefully about the colors of your home office.
Here's a quick guide to the way colors influence behaviors:
· Blues and greens help to relax, feel calm and hopeful
· Orange and shades of yellow energize and stimulate
· Reds stimulate and excite (choose with care)
· Neutral Colors – used in combination with other colors to tone down or liven up
You need to study colors a little and match them with your personality, space and type of work.
At Office Evolution Hackensack, we understand these things. It's why we take the working spaces seriously. We know what you need to be productive. It's the reason why members feel energized and enthusiastic when they walk into our coworking center.
#2 Seize the Moment
How many times have you had a great idea about something and decided to make a note of it later? And how often do you remember to make a note but then forget what it was you were supposed to make a note of? It happens to the best of us, and some fantastic ideas get lost forever this way. Therefore, whenever you have a brainwave make sure you seize the moment and get it down before you forget. Keep a notepad and pen by your side or in your pocket at all times and make sure you use them. There can often be a lot of unwelcome distractions when working from home; small things that can throw you off balance. This is yet another good reason to seize the moment the minute an idea or thought comes into your conscious mind.
#3 Maintain Focus
If your days seem chaotic you're most likely lacking focus. The solution to this problem is simple and summed up in a single word: "ROUTINE." Although days can differ, there is usually a familiar pattern to a lot of common tasks. Find out what yours are and then build a routine around them. It's always a good idea to work through emails at the start of the day, then that's one monkey off your back you don't have to worry about. Chunk all your daily activities into compartments and then work them into a daily and/or weekly routine that suits you. The secret here is to stick to your routine once you have it. This way you will maintain direction and focus and become more productive at home.
#4 Take a Break
Long term working at home does not suit all people. If you do need to make your home office a permanent setup, adhere to some of the suggestions in this piece. Whatever you do, make sure you take breaks, preferably outside the home. One solution is to become a member of our virtual office at Hackensack. This brings together the best of both worlds. There are many reasons why a virtual office membership makes perfect sense. Those who embrace the concept find that they become more productive and more profitable as a consequence. The coworking business lounge is the perfect getaway for work-from-home professionals. It's a great place to soak up the social energy, and it also offers you an opportunity to network with like-minded people.
Three of the main features of a virtual office membership offer to home workers include:
These are just some of the many features that members get to enjoy. It's healthy for home workers to get out of the house periodically, so why not make those breaks as productive as possible.
#5 Think Ergonomics
The fifth tip is to think workspace ergonomics (human factors). This is all about creating a workspace that benefits the worker. It's a space that pleases you, it's comfortable and the equipment you have is pleasant to use. A poorly designed workspace guarantees five things:
- Worker fatigue
- Lower productivity
- Substandard product quality
- Potential health complications
You might think the home office is safer than a construction site, but it's not without its risk. A poorly designed workspace can lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Performing repetitive tasks is not without consequences. People can, and often do, suffer with stressed muscles, ligaments and tendons, nerves and blood vessels. Eye strain, prolonged sitting, and work-surface contact are other problems.
Ergonomics simply means to arrange your workplace, systems and products. They need to comfortably fit in with you and anyone else who uses them. You need to look at everything you do and everything you use so that you can reduce your risk of hurt or long-term injury.
The key benefits to effective home office ergonomics include:
- Reduced costs by reducing the risk of MSDs and time off work
- Improves productivity
- Improves quality (end products)
- Safer and more pleasant working environment
This is something that will be unique to every home office setup and job type. You need to think about your home office space and question whether there is anything you can do to make it better, safer and more comfortable going forward.
To get you started, here are the main things to consider:
- Keyboards (articulating keyboards are the best)
- Monitors (type, brightness, position, etc.)
- Body positioning
- Computer mouse
- Body reaches
Want to know more about the advantages our virtual office solutions can bring to your home office arrangement? Call Office Evolution Hackensack, NJ today or send us a message.
At Office Evolution Hackensack, we provide virtual office, coworking, and private office solutions. We offer meeting rooms, offices, a coworking lounge, a shared reception, a business address, and virtual receptionist services. We have many options and price points, and all terms are flexible. Plus, you become part of a community of like-minded professionals.
Whether you live in Teaneck, Bergenfield, Maywood, Teterboro, Hasbrouck Heights, Moonachie, Little Ferry, Rochelle Park, Dumont, Bogota, River Edge, New Milford, Hackensack, Englewood, Paramus, Tenafly and other communities nearby in Bergen and Essex counties, choosing Office Evolution Hackensack in New Jersey will help you be more professional, productive, and profitable.